(one synonym : Chaerocampa amara Swinhoe, 1892)
MACROGLOSSINAE, SPHINGIDAE, BOMBYCOIDEA
(Photo: courtesy of Tom and David Sleep, Queensland)
This Caterpillar is initially green with a pair of pale dorso-lateral lines, but later instars are brown with dark diagonal patches along the sides. The early instars have a dark spike on the tail which curves slightly forward.
In later instars the spike on the tail curves backwards and ends in a sudden point. The spike is quite harmless.
They also have one eyespot on each side of the abdomen on the first abdominal segment that always has some red coloration. They also sometimes have a minor eyespot on the second abdominal segment.
Normally the main eyespot is hidden by a fold in the skin of the first abdominal segment, and the spot is only displayed when the animal is disturbed. Indeed when the skin is folded, the head and prothorax look like the upper jaw, and the first set of legs like the lower jaw, of some much larger beast, which may deter predators.
The caterpillar has been found feeding on a wide variety of plants, but it is perhaps most often found on :
The caterpillar has also been found on :
It grows to a length of about 7 cms.
The caterpillar pupates under the soil near the food plant.
The moth is a boring brown, with two dark lines and dots on each fore wing, and with darker plain hind wings. It has a wing span of about 7 cms. The adult moths have some slightly darker banding across the abdomen, which may be used to distinguish them from the related species Theretra tryoni. The adults of these two species may be barely distinguishable, but the caterpillars are easily distinguished, having only one eyespot on each side, whereas Theretra tryoni caterpillars have two.
The eggs are spherical and pale green. They are laid singly on a leaf of a foodplant.
The species is found as various subspecies over much of Asia, including :
and over the northern tropical and subtropical regions of Australia, including
Further reading :
Ian F.B. Common,
Moths of Australia,
Melbourne University Press, 1990, fig. 42.1, pl. 29.12, pp. 38, 71, 415.
A Night at Ray's,
Issue 57 (June 2010), pp. 30-32,
Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club.
William Sharp Macleay,
in Philip Parker King :
Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia,
Volume 2 (1826), Appendix B, p. 464, No. 165.
Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 203.
Paul Zborowski and Ted Edwards,
A Guide to Australian Moths,
CSIRO Publishing, 2007, p. 169.
(updated 7 April 2013, 18 April 2017)